Our history & Whakapapa
Thames Baptist Church (TBC) began in Thames around 1869 when the gold rush was at its height. The first stalwarts were rugged individuals who proudly stood for Christ in what was, at first, a frontier town. “Daddy Mason” was their evangelist who went among the miners taking the good news with him.
In 1869 they were granted land by Te Hoterini Taipari and Rapana Maungaroa. This was the first instance of close cooperation between NZ Baptists and local iwi. From 1889, without losing their Baptist identity, they shared buildings, services and minister with the Congregationalist church in Mary St. This arrangement continued for 36 years. Thames has the oldest Baptist church in the Waikato / Bay of Plenty region.
These early pioneers set the scene for a church which has continued the work they started. There are descendants of the first Baptists still in the church today.
Approximately 30 years ago the church became interested in developing a ministry with the disadvantaged of Thames. This has continued through the years through two independent trusts.